« IndietroContinua »
with the breath of his lips shall he flay the wicked.” Oh! where was there ever such a well qualified Governor? It is impossible he can err in his administration. And what sweetens this is, that the qualifications of the King are communicable, and actually communicated unto all the loyal subjects of the kingdom ; for he is not only a head of government, but of influences : for “out of his fulness do all we receive, and grace for grace.”
4. Christ's government and administration is very wonderful and surprising ; you see here that the name of the Governor is Wonderful. He is wonderful in his person, and wonderful in his adminiftration ; for, by his fkill of management in his kingdom, he brings light out of darkness, order out of confufion, life out of death, Itrength out of weakness : and therefore the subjects may be easy amidst the greatest apparent confusions, even though the mountains were removing, and heaven and earth mingling; for he is “the Lord that doth wonders, and rules even in the raging of the sea,” &c.
5. Christ's government and administration in and about his church and people is exceeding wise ;. so much is imported in his being called the Counsellor. “Wisdom and counsel are his; there is no searching out of his understanding.” The deepest laid plots of hell are all open before him ; for “he difcovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death ;" he rules in the midst of his enemies, and turns all their counsels to foolishness. And as for his loyal subjects, “ he will guide them by his counsel, and afterward bring them to glory.”
6. Christ's government and administration is irresistible ; for the Governor is “ The mighty God,” who will go through with his designs: “Who can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doft thou? Olet mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad ;" for her King in the midst of her is mighty, yea, the almighty God, who is able to protect his servants, and is both able and resolved to destroy his enemies: “Strong is his hand, and high is his right hand; and his right hand doth ever valiantly." How valiantly did he spoil principalities and powers on the cross? And he is as valiant as ever.
7. Christ, in the government of his church and people, is exceeding tender and compassionate ; for his name is “ The everlasting Father, with whom compaflions flow; and his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. As a father pitieth his children : so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. He gathers the lambs in his bofom, and gently leads those that are with young." And "in him the fatherlels find
eth mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax."
8. Christ's government and administration of his church is very peaceable ; for his name is The Prince of peace, and “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” It is true, he has told his subjects, that “in the world they fall have tribulation, but yet in him they shall have peace, for “ he hath overcome the world ;” and the peace he gives is such as the world can neither give nor take away, John xiv. 27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."
9. This government is everlasting ; for of the increase of his government there shall be no end. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion that which shall not be deftroyed'; his feed shall endure for ever, and his throne built up to all generations.” Other kings die, and their kingdoms moulder away into nothing ; but he is “the King eternal, immortal," and his kingdom endureth for ever. " Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever : the fceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Judgement and justice are the habitation of his throne :" and this is what renders his government everlasting, because this King doth rule in righteousness, and his throne is e tablithed in justice.
III. The third thing was, to inquire how the government of the church is committed unto Chrift, or laid upon his poulder. Interpreters think, that in this expression there is an allusion to the ancientcu ftom of carrying the ensigns of government upon the shoulders of those who were invested with it, or of their officers. The plain meaning is, that the government and fupreme authority of the church, whether militant or triumphant, is devolved upon him. An expression much of the same import you have, Il. xxii. 22." And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder : so he thall open, and none fhall fhut, and he shall fhut and none fhall open.” Now, the government is committed to Christ, or laid upon his thoulder, with a three or fourfoid solemnity.
1. With the folemnity of an unalterable decree : Pfal. ii. 6~8." Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy poffeffion.” Now, can this decree of Heaven be reversed, or these mountains of brass be overturned? No, surely," the counsel of the Lord shall stand;" and therefore
the crown shall stand on the Redeemer's head, and the government lie upon his poulder.
2. With the solemnity of a covenant transacted betwixt him and his eternal Father, when the council of peace was between them both. And what is the issue of that grand council, which was held in heaven, from the ancient ages of eternity? It was just, that the man, whose name is the BRANCH, should come out of his place, that he fhould bear the glow ry, and that he should fit and rule upon his throne, Zech. vi. 12. 13
3. With the folemnity of an oath, ratifying the determination of the council of peace in this matter : Pfal. !xxxix. 3. 4“ I have made a covenant with my chosen ; I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations." And you see, ver. 35 that in his oath he impignorates his holiness, the most oriene and dazzling jewel of his crown, for the greater security, " Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David,” i.e. I will as soon cease to be a holy God, as turn my Son out of the government; no, it shall lie upon his shoulder, as long as I am holy, and that is for ever and ever. The government is committed to bim by a solemn election and investiture, he was elected to the government by his own Father, and the joint concurrence of all the subjects: lf. xlii. 1. He is “mine elect in whom my soul delighteth.” Psal. Ixxxix. 19. 20. “ I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my fervant: with my holy oil have I anointed him.” And the whole family of heaven and earth concur in the choice, without a contradictory voice : hence when he mounts the throne, and ascends up on high, they all clap their hands, saying, as Pfal. xlvii. 5. 6. "God is gone up with a fhout, the Lord with the found of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, fing prai. fes: fing praises unto our King, fing praises." That pailage, Rev. v. 11. 12. is thought by Tome judicious interpreters, p?Tticularly the great Owen, to have a respect unto the reception Christ met with, when he returned to heaven, and sat down on the throne in our nature : “ And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times'ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;" and what fay they? how cordially do they give their vote, that he shoul! reign? “Saying with a lould voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to receive power, and riches, and wildom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blelling." IV. The fourth thing was, to give the reasons of the doc
trine. Why is the government laid upon his shoulder ? I, answer,
1. Because his shoulder alone was able to bear the weight of the administration and government of the church. They who usurp the administration, take too much upon them : it is a burden too heavy for angels or archangels; how then should finful worms bear it? God the Father saw that none in heaven or earth but his own eternal Son was match for such a province; and therefore commits it to him, with a promise of his own affiftance in the government, Pfal. Ixxxix. 19-21. “I have laid help upon one that is mighty.--I have found him ;-I have anointed him.-With whom my hand thall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.".
2. It is laid upon his shoulder, or committed to him, that he might be in better capacity for accomplishing the salvation of his people, and bringing many sons and daughters unto glory; hence we find his kingdom and salvation frequently joined together; “ Thou art my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth ;” and Zech, ix. 9. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; fhout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold thy King cometh unto thee ; he is just, and having salvation. Let his kingdom be never so low, his subjects in the worst of bondage and misery, whether as to the external or internal man, if their Governor and King give but the word of command, immediately deliverance comes; Plal. xliv. 4. King, O God, command deliverances for Jacob." His command dried up the Red Sea, divided Jordan, and brought Ilrael into the promised land.
3. The government is laid upon his shoulder, that he may “still the enemy and the avenger," that he may resent his Father's quarrel against Satan, and entirely bruise his head, for his defacing and striking at his and his Father's image in our first parents, and disturbing his government, which he had established in innocence. Christ's great business, when he appeared in this world in person, and when he appears in the dispensation of the gospel, and power of his Spi, rit, is to destroy the works of the devil, to rear up his own kingdom, in the ruin of the old ferpent and his feed. Hence it is, that when he takes the field, he gives the shout of war against that enemy and all that join him, Il. lxiii. 4.
" The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my Redeemed is come.”
4. The government is laid upon his shoulder, or committed unto him, because he hath a just title to it. As, 14, He has a title to it by birth. He is God's first born,
« Thou art my and therefore he will make him “higher than the kings of the earth :" yea, he is “ King of kings, and Lord of lords."
2dly, He has a title to it by purchase. He hath redeemed his church by his own blood, and therefore. has the best right to govern her : his cross was the way in which he came to the crown; he suffered, and then entered into his glory:
3dly, He has a right to it by his Father's promise and charter, granted him upon the footing of his death and satisfaction; If. liii. 12. « Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he hall divide the spoil with the strong : because he hath poured out his soul unto death;” and, Phil ii. 8. 9. 10. we are told, that " because he endured the cross, and despised the shame, therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name."
4thly, He has a title to it by conqueft. He invades the territories of the god of this world, fets up his standard within his dominions, and spoils principalities and powers, fets the captives of the mighty at liberty, he travels in the greatness of his strength, shewing himself mighty to five, subduing finners, and bringing every thought into captivity to his obedience; and because he doth so, therefore the government is committed to him, and laid upon his shoulder.
V. The fifth thing was, the Application of the doctrine.
The fort use may be of Information in the following parti. culars. Is it so, that the government is laid upon the shoulders of the Redeemer by the ordination of the Father? See hence,
1. The wonderful love of God which he bears to his church and people, in providing such a Ruler and Governor for them. I remember the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings x. 9. in her address to Solomon, she says, “ Because the Lord loved Ifrael for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgement and justice." So, well may we say here, Because the Lord loved his church and people, therefore he made his own eternal Son King in the midit of her, and laid the government upon his shoulders. O what a wonderful evidence of his love is this! And should not this make the under-governors of the church very tender, and take head of ruling with rigour, and to be aware of what rulers they set over her?
2. See hence what a happy government and administration believers, the saints of God, are under, viz. the government of the child born, and the fon given to us, whose name is the Wonderful, Counsellor, &c. The queen of Sheba, in the place now cited, 1 Kings X. 9. when she saw the glory of Solomon, VOL. II. с